The Newburgh City Council addressed comments in relation to a newly proposed amendment to the city code for zoning of cannabis dispensaries and cannabis retail and production facilities at a public hearing on Monday.
Three maps outlining various locations of on-site cannabis consumption, industrial uses for cannabis and retail uses of cannabis were made available to the city council and the public. These maps are proposed locations for these uses and are also available on the city website for public review. For each of the maps, areas listed in green were identified as parks where no cannabis was permitted, areas in gray are marked no cannabis but certain uses are permitted and areas in yellow listed several permitted uses within those identified zones.
Resident Jewel Martin raised concerns about the scent of cannabis in taxi cabs and also addressed the clarifications on if certain areas do not allow the consumption of nicotine, then the consumption of cannabis should also be included in these areas. Resident Gabrielle Hill addressed the council and referenced existing smoke shops in the city, such as along South and Liberty St and requested clarification on sales and consumption. Corporation Counsel Michelle Kelson shared that cannabis sales are allowed with proper licensing which has not been issued yet by the state. There is current federal litigation that prevents licenses from being issued in New York, specifically in certain areas such as the Mid-Hudson, which includes the City of Newburgh. Kelson also stated that recreational uses were permitted if over the age of 21. Business owner and city resident Michele Basch inquired about the distribution of cannabis mixed drinks. Kelson clarified that the business would need to apply for a cannabis license depending on the proposed permitted zone on the city maps. Other comments were brought forward about community support for zoning education and addressing asthma and other respiratory concerns and purchase of products with synthetic nicotine which were not as used in years past. City council thanked the public speakers for addressing their concerns and would look into the matter more closely following the hearing.
Prior to the public hearing on Monday night, the city council had declared its intent as lead agency under the State Environmental Quality Review Act [SEQR]. As Kelson’s explanation, the city could begin the discussion with other interested parties to pursue cannabis related businesses. Licenses would be possible through and issued by the Office of Cannabis Management and state licenses issued could potentially lead to additional sources of revenue and new business owners starting new ventures.